Current News

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota regulators on Thursday released the final environmental review of Enbridge Energy's proposal to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline, which carries Canadian tar sands crude across northern Minnesota to Wisconsin.

The state Commerce Department has updated and expanded the massive document since it released the draft for public comment in May. Changes include additional discussion of the socioeconomic impact of the project, the potential impact on tribal resources and the potential impact of oil spills, as well as the inclusion of public comments, the department said. In the process, the main document grew to just over 2,000 pages, plus around 12,000 pages of appendices.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Cherokee Nation is urging a federal judge to allow a tribal lawsuit against distributors and retailers of opioid medications to be litigated in the tribe's own court.

Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree has filed written arguments with U.S. District Judge Terence Kern in a lawsuit that alleges the companies have contributed to "an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse" among the tribe's citizens. The lawsuit alleges that six distribution and pharmaceutical companies have created conditions in which "vast amounts of opioids have flowed freely from manufacturers to abusers and drug dealers" within the tribe's territory.

CALLAWAY, Minn. (AP) — There's a lot of expectation invested in a few acres of hemp growing on a hill overlooking the small town of Callaway on the edge of the White Earth Reservation.

"I'm kinda nervous," said tribal secretary-treasurer Tara Mason. "I don't think I've been this concerned about how a crop is doing on White Earth until we planted these."

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - School officials in Oklahoma City and Tulsa will reconsider whether their schools should bear the names of confederate generals after a white nationalist rally decrying the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia.

An online petition in Tulsa urges the district to rethink a 99-year-old decision to name a school after Lee. Four elementary schools in Oklahoma City also bear the names of Lee and other Confederate generals, including Stand Watie, a Cherokee.

The Tulsa school district released a statement Monday saying officials plan to review the names of all schools in the district to assure they reflect community values.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City school officials say changing school names can cost as much as $75,000 per school.

Three people died Saturday in Charlottesville as counter-protesters clashed with white nationalists.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The number of lawsuits alleging Mormon church leaders failed to protect children from sexual abuse has grown to include two more Navajos and a member of the Crow Tribe.

Thousands of American Indian children, most of whom were Navajo, participated in a now-defunct church-run foster program from the late 1940s until around 2000. The program was meant to give children educational opportunities that didn't exist on the reservations.

The lawsuits contend certain foster families harmed children.

For nearly a century, American Indian jewelers, potters and other artists have been gathering in the heart of northern New Mexico to show off their creations at one of the nation's most prestigious art markets.

The annual Santa Fe Indian Market begins Saturday as organizers push ahead with raising the bar for showcasing what they say are the best examples of art that has evolved from centuries-old traditions.

Some artists and their families have participated for years, but this marks the first time organizers have shifted entirely to a juried application process that has resulted in fierce competition.

Organizers say the result is more fair than the system that used to exist, said Dallin Maybee, chief operating officer of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, which presents the market each year.

"The process allows us to jury and select people simply based on the weight and competitiveness of their work. Tribal affiliation, age, medium — it doesn't factor in anymore," he said.

About 935 artists were selected this year. Many are from pueblos throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation while others are traveling from as far as Alaska, Montana, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Events related to Native film, literature and fashion are scheduled throughout the week leading up to the market. Here are some more things to know:

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TRADITION

While much of the art showcased at the market is based on methods and styles used by tribes for generations, more modern narratives have been finding their way into the pieces and the work has been evolving. Maybee pointed to pottery designs and changes in textiles.

"I think the perception was that we were always a traditional show and that's just not the case," he said. "We do have art forms that are very old in terms of techniques and materials but for decades and decades our artists have been exploring new ways of presenting those things."

In 2015, the market started the Edge Contemporary Show for those Native artists focused on fine art with a more modern flair.

Acknowledging the popularity of the contemporary work, he said: "We'll keep moving in those directions. I think there's room and space for all the different types of art forms to find a place at Indian Market."

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FILM AND FASHION

In conjunction with the market, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will present its annual Native Cinema Showcase throughout the week, highlighting more than 50 feature-length and short films created by Native artists.

The Haute Couture Fashion Show on Saturday will include work inspired by the diverse backgrounds of designers across Indian Country. That will be followed Sunday by a clothing competition in which models will show off traditional and contemporary styles.

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THE DRAW

The festivities typically attract about 100,000 people to Santa Fe for the week, resulting in an estimated economic impact of about $80 million.

Through the juried process, Maybee says visitors get to see a level of fine art beyond craft fairs and powwows. And with so many accomplished artists applying each year, space simply runs out.

For casual collectors, Maybee says they buy what speaks to them and aren't too concerned about the backstory. For others, it can be a cultural education.

"That's one of the best things about Indian Market, they can engage directly with these artists and talk to them about their culture, about their identity and where they found these narratives and how they're interpreting them. It's really a beautiful process," he said.

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If You Go...

SANTA FE INDIAN MARKET: Related events are planned throughout Santa Fe. Here is a link to the schedule and ticketing information.

Winners will be recognized at the Northwest Enterprise Development Conference at the Tulalip Resort Casino on Wednesday, September 6th


MESA, Ariz. – The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is pleased to announce its 2017 class of “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipients. This prestigious award is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities, who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their community. Award winners will be honored during the inaugural Northwest Enterprise Development Conference at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, WA on Wednesday, September 6th. The conference is the first regionally-focused event hosted by the National Center.

“The 2017 40 Under 40 award recipients are comprised of a diverse group of young men and women cultivated from across American Indian and Alaska Native communities, each of whom have devoted their skills and resources to enhancing their communities," said Chris James, President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A cottonwood tree that provided shade for the Ute tribes of western Colorado before the arrival of white settlers has grown rotten and unstable and must be trimmed into a memorial that recognizes its once-imposing stature.

The Ute Council Tree in the western Colorado town of Delta is believed to be about 215 years old. But the cottonwood can no longer be considered safe, The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel reported.

The Delta County Historical Society reports that the last surviving limb fell on a windless morning Aug. 1.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A former police officer facing a fourth trial for the death of his daughter's black boyfriend can't be tried in Oklahoma because the shooting happened on American Indian territory, his attorneys argued in a new court filing.

Citing his membership in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, attorneys for ex-Tulsa Police Department Officer Shannon Kepler asked a judge Friday to dismiss the case because the 2014 shooting happened on land inside tribal territory. The Tulsa World reported that Kepler was issued a Creek Nation citizenship identification card on Thursday.

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A lack of funding had delayed for several months the purchase of software that would let people living on the Navajo Nation know when a child went missing, a tribal official said.

The tribe refocused efforts to implement an Amber Alert and larger emergency system after an 11-year old girl and her younger brother were lured into a van near Shiprock in May 2016. The boy was freed. An Amber Alert for Ashlynne Mike didn't go out for almost seven hours after she was reported missing. She was found dead shortly after.

The tribe's Department of Emergency Management did not have enough money to buy the software, public safety director Jesse Delmar told the Gallup Independent in a story published Thursday. He said $250,000 recently was acquired from his division, moving the process forward.

Delmar said the tribe is looking into various software vendors and will be interviewing them.

"Once we make the selection, we would be paying for that software," he said.

Officials expect the system to serve as an "all hazard alert system" that would send out warnings not only on child abductions but also for chemical spills on highways or weather disasters.

The Navajo Nation has relied on the Four Corners states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona — to activate Amber Alerts, said Navajo Nation police Chief Phillip Francisco. Before police can issue an Amber Alert, officers must go through a list of requirements to establish a case, and if they have enough to fit the criteria, they can start the process to ask neighboring states to issue an Amber Alert.

That system was used during Ashlynne's abduction and later when two other children went missing. The two children were found within an hour of the alerts, Francisco said.

Ashlynne's father, Gary Mike, has sued the Navajo Nation, claiming it failed to send an Amber Alert in a timely manner.